TNA undecided on Presidential polls

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has said it is yet to decide on who it will back at the next Presidential elections and if that candidate will be a common candidate. TNA MP and spokesman Suresh Premachandran was quoted in the Uthayan website this evening as saying discussions have taken place among members of the TNA on who the party should support at the Presidential polls. However Premachandran has said that the party is yet to decide on a candidate for President at the next polls. He also said that the participation of the TNA at some events in Colombo involving prospective candidates did not mean the TNA was backing that prospective candidate. The TNA had recently taken part in a meeting organised by the venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha […]

US report notes BBS and State nexus

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

A US Government report released today said that local media in Sri Lanka and NGOs have noted strong linkages between the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and the government. The International Religious Freedom Report for 2013 noted in its Executive Summary that the BBS continued to promote its anti-Muslim campaign, which was linked to violent activities last year. The report released at the US State Department by US Secretary of State John Kerry noted that according to numerous reports, the BBS was also behind a growing wave of anti-Muslim activities carried out by other violent Buddhist nationalist groups. “Nationalist groups were allegedly involved in a series of attacks on mosques, protests over animal slaughter, and a sustained attempt to further marginalize Muslims by outlawing the halal […]

Constitution amendment bill from Sarath N Silva?

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Currently former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva and several other legal veterans are enthusiastically engaged in bringing in a new constitutional amendment. The President Mahinda Rajapaksa has thus advised Sarath Nanda Silva to formulate an appropriate constitution amendment bill due to the objections raised by the opposition and certain parties of the government regarding the presidential system. It is said that draft proposal formulate by National Movement For a Just Society of Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero with regard to the abolishment of executive precidential system, the propositions of Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thero and United National Party (UNP) are also to be taken into consideration in the process. Accordingly, former CJ Sarath Nanda Silva has recently met several opposition bigwigs to collect their opinions. ‘Sri Lanka […]

Jayalalithaa Seeks PM Modi’s Intervention for Release of Indian Fishermen From Lanka

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

A few hours after Sri Lankan Navy arrested 50 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking immediate release of total 93 fishermen and 62 boats, presently in the custody of the neighbouring nation. In her letter to Mr Modi, she referred to Sri Lanka’s “deliberate and callous” design in not releasing the 55 boats and fishing gear which were impounded from Tamil Nadu fishermen apprehended earlier.She further reiterated her earlier request to impress upon the Sri Lankan Government to abandon their ‘inhuman strategy’ of impounding the boats and fishing gear for extended periods of time and to take up this issue of frequent apprehension of Tamil Nadu fishermen at the highest diplomatic levels.Earlier today, the 50 fishermen from […]

50 Indian fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan Navy arrested 50 Indian fishermen off Point Pedro in Jaffna on Monday, on charges of poaching in Sri Lankan waters. As many as seven trawlers in their possession were seized. The arrest comes at a time when fishermen on either side of the Palk Strait are voicing concern about the lack of progress in finding a solution to the ongoing fisheries conflict between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka. There are currently 38 Indian fishermen and 55 trawlers in Sri Lankan custody, according to P. Sesu Raja, leader of a Ramanathapuram-based association of fishermen using mechanised boats. “Each of the trawlers costs about 20 to 25 lakh in Indian rupees. Plus, with the direction of the wind set to change soon, we […]

200 000 Complaints against Gnanasara thera and Champika Ranawaka

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Media reports have stated that within 24 hours over 200 000 complaints have been lodged with the Facebook administration against Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara thera and Technology and Research Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. Majority of these complaints have been lodged from the Asian region and a collection of 5 Million complaints have been lodged against the Bodu Bala Sena fan page.Commenting on this incident Gnanasara thera told media that the BBS has recently come to knowledge of a Facebook racket in motion against the Bodu Bala Sena. The BBS General Secretary also stated that racket is being conducted by extremist Muslim organizations in Sri Lanka and that they have sought the help of the neighboring Muslim countries, mainly Bangladesh and Pakistan. “This […]

Hakeem’s meet with OIC Head irks MR

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The feud between Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem and the government top brass first started at the time when a section of the ruling coalition launched a battle against the halal certification some time ago. Hakeem incurred the wrath of the government hierarchy when he took steps to make representations to the Heads of Muslim nations in West Asia instead of making any effort to get the issue resolved in consultation with the authorities here. Hakeem falls from graceDifferences between Minister Hakeem and the government top brass took a turn for the worse, when it came to light that the minister had sent reports to the Muslim nations in Mid-East and also the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), accusing the government of turning a blind eye […]

Dravidian parties uneasy with BJP’s policy shift on Sri Lanka

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The BJP-led government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems determined to press the reset button on India’s policy towards Sri Lanka. Equally perceptible is the displeasure of the Dravidian parties from the ruling AIADMK to the DMK as well as the Kazhagams that constitute the BJP’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the state. Although it is certain that a re-set of bilateral ties is underway, there is no clarity on the emerging policy outline and its direction. What is clear is the absence of the dithering that characterised the UPA’s policy under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Even the Congress party was irked by Singh’s flip-flop when it came to Sri Lanka, Tamil rights and the question of human rights violations in the last phase of […]

Callum Macrae to testify before the UN investigation panel

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Callum Macrae, Channel -4 Journalist played leading role on informing international community on war crimes reported during final perhaps of war in SriLanka, schedule to testify before the UN international investigation panel, sources said. International investigation panel of the UNHRC officer currently collects evident at Geneva.Macare will brief the international investigation panel on collecting evident to his documentaries named “The Killing fields of SriLanka” and “ No Fire Zone”.Channel-4 team visited SriLanka in last November to cover the CHOGM summit. They also plan to visit Northern SriLanka. Due to the protest they forced to cancel their journey. Speaking to journalist Macare stated that he will release more documentaries on SriLanka. Meanwhile Erick Solheim served as the Norwegian mediator between LTTE – Lankan government also preparing […]

Free media for truth to prevail especially in North

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

By Jehan Perera The disruption of two media training programmes for Tamil journalists from the former war zones of the North in quick order makes it appear that they have become a target for suppression. In the space of less than six weeks there have been at least two attempts to prevent Tamil journalists from interacting with the larger civil society, to share their experiences and to benefit from the latest advances in methods of news investigation and dissemination.  In this context the spokesman for the Free Media Movement has said, “A journalist needs to be trained so that they can do more for society. The government is stopping that from happening. What they want are journalists who will be their puppets.” He added that […]

Muslims celebrate Ramazan Today

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fiṭr means “to break the fast” Today (29) all Muslims in Sri Lanka celebrates Ramazan, ending their month of fasting. The festival of Eidul Fitr  began on Monday (28) in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring states. The religious authorities in the desert kingdom had announced on Sunday they had received reports of sightings of the new moon, marking the end of Ramazan. Malaysia on Monday marked a solemn Eidul Fitr, Islam’s biggest festival, as families of those aboard downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 mourned the dead. Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen have all also said the festival began in their countries on […]

US Embassy concerns on media freedom in SL

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The United States is deeply concerned by the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of a journalism training session in Colombo over the weekendThe eventual cancellation of this training, which was focused on digital security for Jaffna-based journalists and financially supported by the U.S. government, was accompanied by a series of threats and intimidation of training participants and other journalists around the country, including threats against at least one journalist who made a statement criticizing the government over the cancellation.This marks the third training session to be canceled in Sri Lanka since May, including others that were disrupted by well-organized protestors threatening harm to the training participants. Even when present, the police have not provided security for threatened journalists or taken action against the groups making the […]

‘More Questions Than Answers’ – Suren Surendiran

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

While the Government feels it has achieved something more by expanding the mandate of the Missing Persons Commission to investigate war crimes and appointing three foreign experts to oversee the probe, the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) feels it is not enough. GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran says more questions than answers have surfaced following the Government announcement. He also notes that historically such Sri Lankan commissions have failed to meet the expectations of the families of the victims and the international community. Excerpts of the interview: By Easwaran Rutnam Q: What does the GTF think about the new mandate given to the missing person’s commission? A: The view remains the same that only an impartial independent international investigation can establish the truth and serve justice. The predicament […]

Losing diplomatic war

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

In marked contrast to the hysterical screeching by Government leaders that there shall be no domestic or international inquiry into the last days of the military campaign to defeat the LTTE in May of 2009, we are now faced with both. The silence by these same leaders to last week’s decision to hold a domestic inquiry is deafening in comparison. There has been no official statement by the Government up to date on the Gazette that was issued on July 15 expanding the scope of the Commission on Disappearances to encompass a mandate to investigate allegations of International Humanitarian Law violations (read ‘war crimes’). One can understand the Government’s embarrassment at the volte-face but it has only itself to blame and some explaining to do […]

‘There Is Definitely Hope For Tamils’ – Maxwell Paranagama

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

According to the Chairman of the Missing Persons Commission Maxwell Paranagama, the Commission, under its new mandate, despite the doubts of some Tamil political parties, is quite confident of handling investigations effectively on both missing persons and allegations of civilians killed during the war. Maxwell Paranagama told The Sunday Leaderthat the Commission is answerable only to the President but to no one else, and it is beyond their mandate to share any information or work with the UN led commission.   Excerpts of the interview: By Waruni Karunarathne Q: Can the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons under its new mandate handle investigation into both missing persons and civilians’ death? A: According to the new mandate, we are to investigate whether armed forces or the LTTE had violated the International Humanitarian Law and […]

India told Sri Lanka to resolve Tamil issue for better trade, says Seshadri Chari

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

SINGAPORE: India has told Sri Lanka that it needs to resolve the Tamil issue for making progress in bilateral trade and commerce, a senior BJP leader has said. “We have told them (Sri Lanka) that you should resolve the Tamil issue if you want trade and commerce between Colombo and New Delhi (to progress),” Seshadri Chari, National Convener of Foreign Policy Cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party, told PTI. He made the remarks after addressing a Singapore forum on “Prime Minist ..  Read more at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/39053806.cms?&utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Solheim Ready To Testify

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Former peace envoy willing to share information with Government Commission By Easwaran Rutnam Former Norwegian peace envoy, Erik Solheim, says he is ready to testify before the Government Commission of Inquiry tasked to investigate the war. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Solheim said that he has nothing to hide and is willing to share whatever he knows with the Government Commission. Earlier, Solhiem had offered to testify before the UN led investigation which has already commenced investigations into the war. Now that the domestic Commission on Mission Persons has been asked to investigate the war, Solheim says he will come forward and share information if required. “The information I may be able to provide is for sure also available to the domestic probe and the […]

Govt. busted millions in lobbying

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

BY SULOCHANA RAMIAH MOHAN The Government has gone after several US based lobbying firms squandering over USD 100 million in order to defend its status in the global arena, especially the US.It is said that the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa currently pays four US lobbying firms to defend the country and four are under contract or active accounts in the US. The latest additions with the Foreign Agents Registration Act contracts in the US are the Madison Group and Beltway Government Strategies. Besides these two firms Thompson Advisory Group LLC (TAG), whose contract ended on 15 March 2014 was paid Rs 100 million, approximately US$ 800,000, at the rate of US$ 66,600 per month for its services till March 2014. Another lobbying expense of US$ 348,000 was […]

Diaspora Can Make Submissions

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

By Waruni Karunarathne The Sri Lankan Diaspora will be able to make submissions to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Missing Persons which has now been asked to investigate the war. Chairman of the Presidential Commission, Maxwell Paranagama told The Sunday Leader that the Commission on Missing Persons will publish a notice inviting the public to make submissions. “Even the Diaspora is allowed make submissions to the Commission and testify before the Commission,” he said. However, he also said he was not able to say exactly when the Commission will complete the hearings and compile its report. “I cannot tell exactly when we will be able to finish our work under the new mandate. We have to hear each and every case individually,” Paranagama said. […]

GL contradicts his ministry

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The Tamil Diaspora in the UK protested against President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was visiting the country on the invitation of Queen Elizabeth, two years ago. This protest forced Mahinda to return to Sri Lanka with his group of supporters which included Army commanders involved in killing more than 40,000 Tamil Civilians in Month of May 2009 in Mullivaikkal. President Mahinda and his Army are also accused of killing more than 1000 LTTE Leaders and their family members who surrendered with white flag after UN negotiated the surrender. This UN negotiated surrender and killing of surrendered LTTE Leaders by Sri Lankan Army after the surrender has made UN negotiations worthless in future to other conflicting parties around the world as UN officials involved in negotiation have gone silent, who are believed to […]

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